I own an old pre-1988 Intrepid, from Vermont Castings. We "usurped" it from our first house because we love it so much. God does that little sucker put out some heat!! I've torn it down, put it back together, wire-wheeled each cast iron panel until it looked fresh from the foundry. I am intimately familiar with its fine, smooth surfaces and gorgeous casting details. But the most impressive thing is, IT'S PRE-1988!! Really, really good iron. So if comes a time when I have to replace this stove, it would be such a disappointment to usher in something I pay a lot for, and then find is just sub-par. Like many others here asking "What's a good stove?", I have been casually searching different manufacturers thru the years, looking for differences, subtle or not. And eventually I learned about the concept of virgin iron ore. I read that almost all cast stoves now are made from recycled cast iron. I personally have some experience with this, because replacement parts for my Intrepid literally "melt" within a year or two. The original upper fireback, for example, lasted from 1987 until 2010 - 23 years. The only reason I swapped it out was because the "teeth" that space the wood away from the damper had worn away. The new upper fireback part I sourced in 2010 lasted about TWO years, then became a grotesque caricature of its own form. Now the damper cannot seal because the frame in which it sits is so distorted that there are no sides to close against. They're there, but they are sloppy looking with wide gaps now. And I do NOT over-fire this heater. I regulate the air and my splits aren't too small. I also have cast iron cookware from 2 generations ago that is wonderful, with fine pores and just amazing to use. Then I purchased a newer cast iron by Emeril and I was so disappointed. The finish was so gritty the paper towel I was using to season it completely disintegrated. And there's also reports of the handles cracking off. Not to say that you can't get good cookware anymore (try Cracker Barrel, Lodge - excellent!) but you have to be careful. Back to heaters... I came across this website http://www.bernard-davis-stoves.co.uk/ an English-based manufacturer. They have this to say: BD&Co stoves are of cast-iron, made from virgin iron-ore. Many other well-known makes are made only from recycled scrap-steel, which is vastly inferior to iron-ore. While this statement is a little misleading, because they're comparing iron to steel, I am curious as to what others on these boards think about virgin ore, and also which manufacturers use it, besides Bernard-Davis. And what kind of life expectancy is being realized from modern, quality cast heaters? Do you think the same as my pre-1988? I would prefer to buy a heater that's made from the best iron available. Back in the day, it was all about "make it the best quality possible." Now, everything is about cutting corners. It's much harder to identify excellence because of all the hype and marketing.